Although many of us prefer to ignore potential future illness, cancer is becoming one of those diseases that either directly or indirectly affects everyone. Considering that nowadays one in two Americans is expected to develop cancer in their lifetime, there is a wave of preventative measures being taken in an attempt to reduce one’s risk of developing the disease. Researchers are learning more about this illness everyday to help fight back in this continuous battle. In order to help steer people in the right direction, here is a list of the Top 10 Cancer Causing Foods That You Should Not Eat.
10. Microwave Popcorn
When it comes to cancer causing foods, for many, anything that enters the microwave already gets a bad wrap. However, despite worldwide hysteria, multiple studies have set out to prove that microwave’s cancerous impression is just a myth and does not actually increase the likeliness of cancer. While this can be said about microwaves, microwave popcorn – one of the machines main visitors – may actually be a reason for concern. While microwave popcorn bags do an amazing job of holding together all those oily popcorn kernels, the same product may actually be causing serious disease within the human body. Microwave popcorn bags are made using perfluorinated compounds, or PFC’s for short, which although great for helping with packaging, also creates perfluorooctanoic acid which has been highly regarded as cancer causing. Eating these chemicals while consuming the popcorn means that the chemicals have the ability to build up slowly over time in the body, potentially leading to extremely harmful consequences. Although in 2011, the FDA passed regulations that would remove PFCs from the market, many products have been developed since this time that have not been held up to the same strict standards, which leaves researchers wondering if today’s products are still being as closely monitored. Either way, when it comes to popcorn, it’s best to go the stove top route or get an air popper if it’s a favorite snack in the household. It really tastes better that way anyway!
9. Refined Sugar
Although the body does require sugar to properly function, typically this requirement is met with the daily consumption of whole foods like fruits and vegetables. This list is referring directly to refined sugars, meaning more specifically white sugar. This item has been listed for a few important reasons. In addition to the cancer causing traits that will be listed, refined sugars are known to contribute to many other diseases such as diabetes. Sugar itself is a food that humans crave more than any other and it is incredibly important that we do not let ourselves overindulge, especially in today’s society where more is never enough. The first of these being the fact that over consumption of sugar is one of the leading causes of obesity, and currently, obesity has been linked to increasing likelihood of 13 different types of cancer. This means one of the best ways to keep oneself cancer-free is to attempt to keep out of the obesity category of weight class. Reducing sugar consumption is one of the fastest and easiest ways to help curb obesity, as the body becomes addicted to the sugar which forces us to continue eating. Then there are the actual sugars themselves, which is known as an important nutrient for any cancerous growth – meaning that giving the body less sugar, would also provide any cancerous cells less sugar. It is for this reason, that sugar itself is being designated as one of the worst cancer causing foods. Any nutrition plan should of course always be discussed with a physician.
8. Burned Meat
While red meats and processed meats in general have been linked directly to bowel cancer in humans, there may be additional potential dangers if meats are cooked on the barbecue or charred black with burn. Although the evidence that has been presented in human research studies is inconclusive, there is an absolute correlation between cancer causing carcinogens in animal studies and consuming burned meat. When working with red meats such as burgers and steaks or processed meats like hot dogs and sausages, the risk is even greater. What’s worse is that many of the most dangerous meats on the market in terms of human health, are marketed for cooking on the BBQ. Due to these potential dangers it is suggested that meat be cooked using processes that are much less likely to burn the exterior – such as stewing, boiling, slow cooking, pressure cooking or microwaving to name a few. As hard as it is to hear, it’s best to try and cut BBQ out as the main source of heat and turn towards alternative means when cooking meat to best protect from potential carcinogenic properties.
7. Canned Tomatoes
A surprising addition to this list is one that has filled the shelves of home pantries for decades – canned tomatoes. Many will be shocked to learn that canned tomatoes, while appearing completely harmless, may potentially be causing serious cancer in the body. The issue with the canned tomatoes doesn’t actually come directly from the tomatoes themselves, but rather the can which seals in their freshness. In order to help prevent the breakdown of the can and preserve the quality of the product inside, bisphenol A or BPA is added to the lining of the can. This extremely controversial product has been deemed unsafe for humans at all levels of consumption within the body and yet it is used consistently today in both plastic and canned packaging. The tomatoes themselves once consumed can transfer the BPAs directly into the human body which can cause certain cancers. The reason why tomatoes are particularly at risk in comparison to other foods relates directly to their acidic quality. While chips or crackers are less likely to wear down the BPA on packaging, the natural acidic nature of the tomatoes makes it a perfect carrier for the BPA that is broken down from the can lining over time. It may just be best to stick to fresh tomatoes when possible or look for them in a jar the next time your cooking up a big batch of tomato sauce or chili.
6. Farmed Salmon
Fish as a protein is extremely controversial in 2020. While fresh and wild fish is often considered best, environmentalists and nutritionists alike are concerned about the related effects. Over-fishing is terrible for an ecosystem that is already at risk and the levels of mercury within wild fish are becoming increasingly dangerous with each passing day. In order to try and find some middle ground, fish farms have become a more and more popular way of satisfying people’s cravings for fish. Unfortunately, as with most new innovations, there are downfalls to be noted with this very technological system. The major issue with salmon farming is that it creates pollutants that stem from overcrowding issues. The carcinogenic levels in farm fresh salmon have reached such a high level that some UK researchers have even suggested it would be unwise to consume salmon more than once a month! Anything that risky should probably just be avoided entirely. Although humans’ love of salmon is understandable, everyone must truly consider the risks and the rewards for both the self and the ocean when sitting down to a plate of smoked salmon for dinner. As researchers continue to discover the perks and downfalls between farm raised and wild salmon, there is one thing for certain, fish consumption must be cut back in general in order to keep the fish, feed the masses, and therefore keep the population healthy all at the same time.
5. Smoked Food
Smoking food has been a long-standing tradition in many cultures that dates back thousands of years. Indigenous peoples learned that the smoking of meats helped to preserve it by not only drying out the meat but also providing an outer coating around the meat itself. Both of these changes to the meat help to curb the production of bacteria and therefore assist in preservation. Today, smoking meat is typically used as a technique for creating a delicious woodsy flavor. It seems everything is smoked nowadays including cheeses, meats, spices, fish and produce. Even the flavor of the smoke itself can be altered depending on the type of wood being used in the smoker. Unfortunately, despite the current love affair with smoking food, it may be one of the ways that cancer is spreading throughout the globe. Smoking meat may be done safely with the most pure untreated fuel (the wood), but the reason it becomes so dangerous is because smoking the food means that any toxins present in the fuel will be transferred to the food. The additional presence of carcinogens in the potentially burnt meat must also be considered. Although that apple wood smoked bacon is great on a BLT, maybe skip it and grab a grilled cheese sandwich instead for lunch!
4. Bleached Flour
Bleached flour is the wonderful ingredient that makes the beautiful looking, soft white bread sandwiches found in school lunch boxes. It’s the first ingredient in almost any cake. It’s probably these childhood experiences that make adults so fond of bleached white flour as opposed to the other more hearty, earthy and flavorful options. Although it has many wonderful uses and provides a soft and fluffy texture, bleached flour is much more dangerous than many may expect. Depending on where one lives, an additive used in the process of making bread known as potassium bromate is added to the recipe. This ingredient assists in speeding up the time required to produce the flour. It also has been linked to cancer in animal studies. Luckily this has been banned in several countries, one of which being Canada, however it is still regularly accepted in the United States putting millions potentially at risk. With almost no difference in taste, try making one of easiest and healthiest changes to your diet and reap the rewards. The amazing taste of natural flour can’t be beat, and your future self may thank you!
3. Red Meat
In the past, red meat has been considered an essential portion of a balanced diet. Unfortunately, today people are beginning to realize that a once adored staple in the western diet, is actually incredibly harmful to the body. Although people love a good steak dinner in the summer or a beautiful bowl of beef stew in the cold winter months, red meat is one of the most dangerous foods one can eat when it comes to the potential increase in likeliness of developing cancer. The surprising reason for red meat’s addition to this list is not because of its unnatural processing, as with some other items. When the body processes red meat, it produces chemicals that aid in the digestion process. In terms of processing red meat, it is believed that these chemicals have the ability to damage parts of the intestinal tract which has the possibility to lead to cancer. For this reason the World Health Organization considers red meat a probable cause of cancer. Due to the documented positive effects of red meat on the body, it is not typically recommended to be removed completely from people’s diet, however it is recommended that the general population should significantly decrease their amount of red meat consumption. People do seem to be taking this advice with more and more people choosing to focus on more plant based diets -and why not? It’s widely considered better for your health and the environment in general.
The cancerous relationship between alcohol and the body is extremely well documented by researchers. Perhaps because of the well known physical effects of alcohol on the body, more research has been done on the harm it causes humanity in comparison to some of the other items listed. The consumption of alcohol directly contributes to an increased chance of cancer in 6 areas of the body. It’s not a surprise that the six types of cancer caused by alcohol are all areas that come into direct content with the alcohol while the body processes it. This means that the mouth and throat, esophagus, breast, larynx, colon and liver are all at an increased risk of developing cancerous cells when alcohol is consumed. As with most alcohol related diseases, the heavier the consumption and the more often one drinks, the increase in likeliness that one will develop any of the above cancers. When alcohol is being processed, the body turns it into a chemical known as acetaldehyde. This intense chemical is what has the ability to damage the body, leaving it increasing vulnerable to various cancers. Alcoholism is an incredibly difficult disease that can cause havoc to the physical and mental state of the body. Potential cancers are only one more reason why one’s relationship with alcohol should always be monitored and controlled. This way it can remain a fun adult indulgence instead of a risky health decision!
1. Processed Deli Meats
Processed meats are well documented as being related to several different types of cancers in the body. This makes cold cuts the number one food that causes cancer, and therefore the number one food that should be avoided! The WHO currently classifies processed deli meats as a Group 1 carcinogen, which basically means that some of the smartest people in the global community currently believe that processed meats have a strong relationship to cancer. Deli meats as a group is extremely broad, however, it basically refers to any pre-processed meat. This can be everything from sliced cold cuts for sandwiches to hot dogs. It can be a spicy salami or breakfast sausages with a maple glaze for the morning breakfast. All of these options and more have been deemed by the WHO to have a strong link in causing cancer. Processed meats contain both nitrites and nitrates. These have been discovered to create cancer causing chemicals in the body upon breakdown. This can be quite frightening when one looks at just how much processed meat they eat over the course of a week, let alone how much over a lifetime. It can be quite difficult to cut back on some of our favorite foods, but for the good of our bodies it must be done!